Saturday, November 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Sirsa observes near-total bandh
Probe into scribe’s death sought
Tribune Reporters

Sirsa, November 22
A bandh was observed by various commercial, social and educational institutions in Sirsa as a mark of respect to local journalist R.C. Chhaterpati, who passed away yesterday after a 27-day struggle for life in Apollo Hospital, Delhi.

He was allegedly shot at by two followers of the local Dera Sacha Sauda on October 24 in front of his residence. He had been earlier threatened for reporting on the CBI inquiry ordered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court following a complaint of sexual harassment by a dera sadhvi against the guru.

The body was consigned to flames at the Shivpuri cremation ground, here, in the evening. Residents held condolence meeting in various parts of the state and paid tributes to the departed journalist. They demanded a CBI probe into the death and dera affairs.

While the District Bar observed no-work day today, IMA members kept their nursing homes closed, except for emergencies.

The Deputy Commissioner expressed sorrow over the death of Chhaterpati and visited his family.

The condolence meeting held at the Subhash chowk described the deceased journalist a daring and courageous pressman and a martyr, who sacrificed his life to assert the freedom of press.

Representatives of the Haryana Government College Teachers Association, C.M.K. National Girls College, Lord Shiva College for Pharmacy and Nursing, Arya Senior Secondary School, R.K.P. Nehru Park School, G.R.G. School and Maharaja Agarsain School, Arhtiyas Association, Haryana Bank Employees Association, Haryana Progressive Writers Association, Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Upcoming Writers Association were among those who paid their tribute.

FATEHABAD: Various social, political, business and intellectual organisations while condoling the death of Chhaterpati, on Friday demanded a high-level inquiry into his murder.

The local organisations gave a call for a complete bandh of the town on Saturday to express their solidarity with journalists.

The Haryana Kisan Sabha demanded an inquiry into the working of the dera and has appealed to its followers to cooperate in the probe. Mr Gulbahar Singh, president of the District Bar Association, Fatehabad, Mr Poonam Chand Ratti, president of the Sarva Karamchari Sangh, Haryana, Mr Atam Parkash Mehta, president of the Beopar Mandal, Mr Raj Goswami, president of the Electronic Goods Traders Association, Mr Hans Raj, president of the Hans Market Association, Mr Ram Raj Mehta, secretary of the HPCC, Mr Pahlad Singh Gillankhera of the HVP, were among those who condoled the death of Mr Chhaterpati and expressed their solidarity with agitating journalists, who are fighting for a probe into the murder and affairs of the dera.

YAMUNANAGAR: A condolence meeting of journalists of Yamunanagar was held here on Friday to mourn the death of Chhaterpati.

They demanded financial help of Rs 10 lakh for the family members of Chhaterpati. They also demanded that the government should bear the entire expenditure of Chhaterpati at Apollo Hospital, Delhi.

BHIWANI: In a condolence meeting held here on Friday, the state president of the Haryana Pragatisheel Patrakar Sangh, Mr Narottam Bagri, and District Press Club, Bhiwani president Ram Niwas Sharma demanded a CBI inquiry into the affairs of the dera.

They also demanded from the state government a compensation of Rs 10 lakh and government service to the next kin of the deceased journalist. Stating this incident as an attack on the freedom of the press, a 2-minute silence was also observed. 

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